"I had been underestimating myself for years" ~ An Incoming Student Reflects

Portrait of incoming naturopathic medicine student Leigh Siergiewicz

This fall, I will be starting school to become a doctor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University. I couldn’t possibly be more certain that this is exactly what I am here on Earth to do, but I had a really roundabout way of getting to this point. Like many college students, I didn’t feel fully committed to any career or major and wondered what I was going to do with myself after graduation. I wanted something that I could wholeheartedly devote myself to, but nothing pulled at me adequately.

When I finally landed on a major in sociology, one of the first things I did in class was watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, which is about the corruption of the American health care system. I was so outraged that I knew right away that I wanted to devote my life to making our health care system better. I just had to figure out how. I’ve been told a number of times that the documentary is biased and extreme, but I think that is irrelevant because the point was to get people outraged about the unbelievably sad state of health care, and that is exactly what it did for me.

I took a few medical sociology classes in college, and the more I learned about it, the more shocked I was that we spend more than any other country on health care and still have such unhealthy people. No other social problem felt as urgent to me personally, as I was also fed up with doctors telling me I was “probably fine” when I was chronically uncomfortable.

I searched online for careers in natural health and stumbled upon naturopathic medicine. My first immediate reaction was, “That is exactly perfect for me!” Until I looked at the science prerequisites. Never mind! Keep looking! About halfway through my senior year of college, I was desperately hoping people wouldn’t ask what I was doing next. But it turned out to be one of those people who asked that gave me the "Aha!" moment I needed.

I gave my usual, “I’d like to do something with natural health, I’m just not exactly sure what.”

“Have you thought about naturopathic medicine?” he said.

“Yes, but it’s all that science. That’s not for me.”

“I think you’re smarter than you give yourself credit for.”

I was speechless! It hit me in an instant that I had been underestimating myself for years. It was all I could think about for weeks. I graduated from college and signed up for general chemistry that summer. To get all the science prerequisite classes I needed in one year, I ended up taking eight of them at six different schools! Yes, I thought it was insane while I was doing it. But I was so certain at the same time.

After seeing a naturopathic doctor (ND) as a patient, the tiniest shred of doubt I had was gone. It gave me the absolute sureness I was always seeking. Dr. Christine Doherty in Milford, New Hampshire, is such a wonderful doctor and role model. She is the first doctor who has ever truly listened to me and been genuinely helpful. I could immediately see myself in her shoes, giving people the true care and attention they deserve.

Although my path in getting here was indirect, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Three years ago, if anyone had told me this is what I’d be doing, I wouldn’t have believed them. I got my "Aha!" moment right at the time I was ready to hear it, and now I’m right on track.

Read the original blog post here.



What Is Naturopathic Medicine graphic

Bastyr University Celebrates Naturopathic Medicine Week 2016

Naturopathic Medicine Week 2-16 was a huge success at Bastyr University.Scroll to the bottom to see our video explaining the 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine.

Three students posing for the camera

Bringing Healing to Families in Need

Through a partnership with the nonprofit charter school EJE Academy, naturopathic clinicians at Bastyr University California are offering free health care to students and their families in an underserved region of San Diego

Students Rally for Medicare Inclusion in Washington, DC

Nearly 150 naturopathic medicine supporters from around the country spoke with Congress about Medicare inclusion at the annual DC Federal Legislative Initiative (DC FLI) in May.
Bastyr Kenmore's 2016 graduation ceremony at Benaroya Hall

Bastyr Graduating Nearly 400 Students in June 2016

Bastyr University California in San Diego and Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, are sending nearly 400 graduates into the world at their respective commencement ceremonies June 19 and 20, 2016.

In the Media

Natural Benefits of Eucalyptus

September 8Natural Benefits of Eucalyptus:

Jenn Dazey, ND discusses the natural benefits of eucalyptus on page 24 of the April 2020 edition of Prevention Magazine.

Pacific County Program Manager

March 5Health Department Expands Services, brings new People Aboard:

Stephanie Michael, a registered dietician nutritionist, was hired as the county’s Health Services Program manager, and is on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Pacific County

February 27Seattle Based Organization Expands Awareness About Naturopathic Medicine: Welcomes Dr. Joe Pizzorno To Board Of Directors:

The Institute of Natural Medicine announces that Dr. Joe Pizzorno has joined their Board of Directors